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Friday, October 16, 2009

A Busy Month for Lee

Wow…Last month was a weird one…but in very cool ways! Here’s a little review of some of the interesting things that happened, in chronological order:
  • Spent a few days working in Vancouver, Canada working on a Brewery Engineering project for a client, then stopped in Portland for a night with friends on the way back.
  • Posted the Change of License notice in the window at Blind Lady to become a Small Beer Manufacturer! (Crossing our fingers that this process goes quickly…)
  • During a layover in Amsterdam, spent 3 hours catching a train, finding an excellent good-beer-bar, realizing they don’t take credit cards, searching for Euros, finding Euros, then returning to the airport (via train) to quickly spend the Euros on Belgian beers before catching my plane…bummer. But still cool, in an unfortunate way.
  • Spent a week in Africa (Nairobi, Kenya) working on a small brewery start-up. Brewed 4 batches of beer, filtered and kegged, then tapped a very-young beer before heading back home. Intense work schedule combined with a relatively-unstable country means that very few interesting photos were taken, and very few “sights” were seen. But still…visited the motherland. And made beer there!
  • A layover in Nigeria (a pretty sketchy place) reveals that, for some yet-to-be-explained reason, Delta airlines cancelled my ticket to return to the USA, forcing me to either stay in the Airport for an indefinite amount of time (but at least one night), or purchase a new ticket—a last-minute, one way flight from Nigeria to San Diego--- for $2500! Chose the latter, purchasing the ticket via someones personal cell phone by an unidentified “clerk” said to work for the airline, then promptly canceling the credit card. Last-minute ticket: $2500. Catching the last flight of the night out of Nigeria: Priceless.
  • Judged the largest beer competition in the world—ever! This years Great American Beer Festival in Denver saw a record number of entries: over 3300 beers in competition! Spent over 20 hours in a windowless basement tasting and evaluating beers, arguing and debating the beers merits with other judges, and writing lots of tasting notes.
  • Co-hosted a class on How to Taste and Evaluate Beer at the Great American Beer Festival. This class, entitled You Be the Judge, occurred 12 hours after having the first of many, many beers of the day in a long judging session (which included 5 hours of barrel aged Strong Ales). Discussion topics were created on-the-fly, and covered everything from Proper Pre-Session Personal Hygiene to Dealing with your Emotions when presented with samples both good- and bad-enough to make you want to shout obscenities of either elation or disgust! The class was fun and hopefully educational.
  • Visited Boulder, Colorado: Avery Brewing, Mountain Sun Brew-pub, and RedStone Meadery, then returned to the Great American Beer Festival to taste beers and visit with other brewers. Made some connections to get some rare beers to Blind Lady for SD Beer Week (Nov.6th-15th).
Unfortunately, I was away from Blind Lady for a good number of days, but Jen, Jeff, and Clea stepped up and did a great job in my absence. Thanks to them, and the rest of the BLAH staff. It’s been interesting being away, and it’s great to be back.

Here are some photos.